Chessie by Linda Link / Mommy

They say a dog is man’s best friend. I guess they’re right. There’s nothing in the world I wouldn’t do for my humans, especially my Mommy. If anyone in my house gets pampered, it’s me. My life has been blessed and I’ve always felt loved but Mommy hit the nail on the head when she took me to see my angel, Dr. Stacy Reeder. She is not only my doctor and friend; she has eased my pain and is making my “golden” years happy
for me and my family. My name is Miss Chestnut Mae (they call me Chessie). They tell me I’m a Golden Retriever. I was born February 12, 1993 in a place near Harrisonburg, VA. I had lots of brothers and sisters to play with, but when we were about twelve weeks old, humans started coming and taking us away, one by one. I didn’t’ really understand why until the day MY humans came. A very nice lady and her daughter came to see us. My brothers and sisters were so into biting each others ears off that they didn’t really pay much attention. I was curious though. I’d seen humans before, no big deal right?, but these humans seemed so nice and I just had to know more. Before, I knew it, I was ridin’ shot-gun in the girl’s lap on the way to my new home. I was nervous, scared and happy all at the same time, and one thing’s for sure, that riding in a car thing is definitely not for me!

We got to my new house and boy was it scary! There was so much to see and even more to smell. I didn’t know what to do first. I was exploring the yard when a man came out of the house. He didn’t seem very happy to see me – he said “I told yall I didn’t want another dog yet”. I didn’t understand what that meant but, by the look on their faces, it couldn’t have been good. I guess he changed his mind though ‘cause he was really nice to me and we played a lot. I got to go in the house and meet my family’s cat Tom, but he didn’t seem to like me much. I guess he thought I’d hurt him, or take away his toys, but he didn’t have to worry. I had brothers and sisters. I was taught to share.

The next day (oh yay) they made me ride in the car again and I got to meet my very first doctor, Jeff Nester. He was very kind and gentle but he gave me shots. If you’ve never had one, shots HURT! Dr. Nester told my family that they should take me back and get another puppy; that I was born with a really bad hip disease and surgery to fix me would be very expensive. I didn’t really understand what he was talking about but I remember my Mommy’s words. She said “are you crazy, we are already in love with her and there is no way we are giving her up”. I knew then just how much my new family loved me and I was more than happy to be going back home with them.

A few days later, I had first encounter with water. I mean, yeah, I’ve had water before, drink it all the time, but this was like water I’ve never seen before. My Mommy, Daddy and Sissy were dragging this big green blanket around. I could tell something was under it but I didn’t see it right away. When they got the blanket moved, they had uncovered the biggest bowl of water I’ve ever seen. Once again I was curious. If it hadn’t been for my humans, curiosity would have killed the puppy.

When I was nine months old, we took another long ride (and this one was really long) – we stayed in a hotel and we rode up and down on an elevator so I could go potty. I slept with my Mom just like when I was at home. The next morning we took a short trip and they left me at a hospital. I had what they call a double femoral head ostectomy. I don’t know exactly what that is but the doctor said something about removing the ball portion of my hip joints and smoothing the bones. My family came the next morning and I was so happy to see them – I was standing up and wagging my tail. They were as happy to see me as I was to see them – the doctor let me go home later that day. I recovered well from the surgery and, for the first time in my life, I didn’t have the pain in my hips. I didn’t know how bad my hips hurt until I didn’t have the pain anymore. The doctor said I would have a funny walk for the rest of my life but I didn’t care – I could run and play, especially with Tom Tom, the family cat who was my feline friend. I loved him a lot and I really miss him. I wish he could have known Dr. Reeder – I know she would have made him feel better when he was so sick.

A few years ago, I started having a lot of problems with my balance. Actually, it turns out that the problem was coming from a large growth on my back leg. By the time, I started having this problem, Dr. Nester had gone to live in Heaven and my mom couldn’t find a doctor she felt good about. She took me to several different doctors and finally one of them told her that if they didn’t remove this growth, it would give me lots and lots of problems. So we went to VPI in Blacksburg and they took off this growth – it weighed 7 lbs. 8 oz. The doctors there told my mom & dad that neurological damage had occurred and I would have problems in my back end for the rest of my life. They were right – my paws started knuckling and I started falling. My muscles also got very weak and I had trouble getting up and walking became difficult. Then my mom took to see who I consider to be my personal angel, Dr. Stacy Reeder.

Dr. Reeder put me in this tall swimming pool (they actually thought I could walk up the ramp to get in it – boy were they wrong; they had to walk me up the ramp). Once in the pool, I kind of liked it but I wasn’t about to let them know it. It was really kind of nice because Dr. Reeder held me and I could feel the love in her heart. She also put me on top of a BIG blue ball and held me on it – the stretching made my legs feel good.

My mom started taking me for weekly visits to see Dr. Reeder and Pam and the really cool dogs there. For weeks, I would swim with Dr. Reeder and then Pam would dry me good so I wouldn’t get cold. I was really doing better after these visits but then I started having some other minor problems. I know I have some kind of liver disease but Dr. Reeder keeps looking for ways to make me feel better. Lately she’s just been massaging me with her loving hands and stretching my legs. She’s also been “pulling my tail” which I find a little bit weird but I’m sure she knows what she’s doing.

Now my mom is sad – I heard her telling my daddy that Dr. Reeder is moving to Maryland which I think is a very long way from here. What am I going to do? I love Dr. Reeder so much and I would do just about anything for her. I just wish I could talk her into staying here so I could keep on seeing her every week. My mom would take me to Maryland to see her but I don’t know if I could stand such a long ride – you know, I really don’t like riding in cars at all.

My mom and I will always be thankful for Dr. Reeder. I don’t think we can find another doctor that we both like and one who will love me the way she does. Her love is so real and I think when God made her, he threw away the mold because she is the very BEST and I love her and I will miss her.

This morning (May 31, 2007) I crossed the Rainbow Bridge to join my feline friend, Tom and the others there. I can run and play like before! I did have a really rough night last night because something was very wrong with either my liver or my spleen but my family stayed with me the whole time. Finally, this morning, my Angel doctor sent another doctor (because it would take her a long time to get here) to my house and she gave me an injection which took away all my pain. My Mommy and Daddy and Sissy were with me, surrounding me with their love but I know they were hurting. My Mommy cries a lot now even though she knows that I’m with God and some very special friends now. I miss my family a lot but I’ll be waiting for them in this beautiful land on the other side of the Rainbow Bridge.


In memory of my best friend,
Linda Link